Endless Night is the heavily fictionalised story of Josephine Peary, played by Juliette Binoche) an arctic explorer who in the early years of the 20th Century set sail to meet her husband the explorer Robert Peary who was on his way to the north pole.
Josephine sets off into the arctic ice with two Inuit guides and Bram (Gabriel Byrne) despite everyone telling her she was foolish. Even after Bram's death she refuses to take anyone's advice and forces the guides to accompany her further. She eventually finds herself at her husband's base camp shack where she meets Allaka (Rinko Kikuchi) who turns out to be Robert Peary's mistress.
The heart of the film focuses on the relationship between the two women, but it is also a study of Western colonialist attitudes. Josephine tries to show Allaka that using cutlery properly is more important than finding nutritious local food. She states bluntly that the Inuit reverence for nature and respect for hard weather is nothing compared to her husband's world changing conquering of the North Pole. She chastises Allaka for casually sleeping with her husband, while Allaka sees no problem with having kept a man warm in cold weather.
The difficulty of surviving the arctic cold is very clearly evoked in
this film, as the two women resort to ever more desperate measures to
find food and heat.
Will the two women bury their differences and come to some kind of mutual understanding through the long Arctic winter? Will they ever be reunited with Robert Peary?
This is an edited version of the 2015 film No-one wants the Night.
Endless Night is showing as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival:
1820, 24 June at Filmhouse and 1540, 25 June at Odeon.
You can read my other reviews from this year's film festival by following the links below:
The Olive Tree.
Death is Only the Beginning - my review of The Correspondence and The Library Suicides.
The Islands and the Whales.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Bugs - are insects the food of the future?
Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and attended free press screenings of these films